How to see massive explosions on the Sun’s surface during the eclipse

This is why you don’t want to be fiddling with your phone or camera during Totality on August 21

“Prominence at 8 o’clock! Coronal streamers at 3 o’clock!” Watch David Makepeace’s (aka the Eclipse Guy) awesome eclipse-chasing video ‘Still Hooked’ and at 12:40 – the moment of Totality – you can hear him shouting out clock times like an insane person. All eclipse-chasers do this during Totality, and if you’re with anyone remotely experienced with eclipses on August 21, you will hear them screaming out times.

Eclipse-chasers are not really shouting about times, but about the exact location on edge of the Sun’s disk of huge explosions on the Sun’s surface. During the brief moments of Totality – and only if you’re within the Path of Totality – you can see explosions on the Sun’s surface.

They are a sight to behold. These ejections of solar material, called prominences, are massive gaseous surface eruptions – or Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) – and they’re usually in a loop shape. A coronal streamer is a thin stream of particles extending out into the Sun’s corona. Both phenomenon are visible to the naked eye only during a Total Solar Eclipse.

You can see both with the naked eye, but if you have a pair of binoculars (even a small pair), you will see a lot more.

Photo credit: Nick Glover